Killer's Children Buried
Monday, August 2nd 1999, 12:00 am
News On 6
The service was for a mass murderer's youngest victims. An American flag and a blanket of pink roses draped the caskets Mark Barton's children Monday as relatives and friends gathered to remember the pair the brother and sister killed by their father last week.
Matthew, 11, and his sister, Mychelle, 7, were bludgeoned to death by their father, the day after he had done the same to his wife.
Pallbearers at the funeral were members of the young victims' Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.
The Rev. Kenneth Hennesy of Union Grove Baptist Church asked the 300 mourners not to ask why Matthew and Mychelle died, but to celebrate the fact that they have gone on to a better life.
Mark Barton said in a written confession that he killed Matthew, a Boy Scout who played soccer, and Mychelle, who belonged to a Girl Scout Brownie troop, so they would not be left in pain without parents.
Police found Matthew's body, wrapped in a blanket and placed on his bed, two scout uniforms -- his and his father's -- hanging neatly at the foot of the bed.
On Thursday, the day after the children died, Barton marched into two brokerage firms in Atlanta's Buckhead commercial district and opened fire with two handguns, killing nine people and wounding 13 others. Hours later, he committed suicide when police cornered him at a gas station.
Days before he murdered nine people in downtown Atlanta, Barton had lost more than $100,000 in the stock market.
Fred Herder, who was wounded in the back during the attack, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he joked with Barton when the assailant arrived at All-Tech Investment Group that morning. "I asked him, 'Where were you yesterday? You make too much money or what?'" A few minutes later, he heard gun shots.
Businessman Sang Yoon was shot in the arm while sitting at a computer terminal at All-Tech. He said he will never return to the high-intensity world of day trading because he fears violence from other traders. "I think I may buy another dry cleaning business," he said.
In its Aug. 9 issue, Newsweek magazine reports that Barton recently changed his profile on his America Online account to include guns as a hobby and "Make my day" - the line Clint Eastwood's character Dirty Harry uttered before gunning down criminals - as his personal motto.
According to his neighbors, Barton was the guy next door who spent his time at home buying Internet stocks. He was a Boy Scout volunteer and seemed to love his children, but now his in-laws and others paint a different picture.
"You couldn't tell him which way was straight up," father-in-law Joe Vandiver said. "He had all the answers. He was that way from the first day I met him."
Vandiver says his son-in-law resented being unemployed while his wife had a full-time job.
"I hope there is a hell," said Vandiver. And I hope Mark Barton burns in it for 10,000 years."